The Society for Visual Anthropology proudly gives its Lifetime Achievement Award for 2008 to Professor Karl Heider. He holds a doctorate from Harvard University and is Carolina Distinguished Professor (Emeritus) at the University of South Carolina. Heider’s work encompasses broad areas as a researcher, filmmaker, teacher, and writer.
He has carried on extensive field study and filmmaking among the Dani of New Guinea as well as the Minang Kabav of West Sumatra. His current research interests include the cultural shaping of emotions. A book based on this research called The Wisdom of Rice: Emotion and Folk Psychology in West Sumatra is in preparation.
Heider’s many films include studies of aspects of Indonesian as well as specifically Dani expressive and material culture, technologies, and arts. Houses, batik, sweet potato farming, rice irrigation, shadow puppets, and dance are examples of his topics.
His work as a teacher comes to life in textbooks he has written for students and instructors, includingFilms for Anthropological Teaching, in its 8th edition with Carol Hermer, Ethnographic Film, in its 2nd edition and the innovative Seeing Anthropology, in its fourth edition with Pamela and Tom Blakely. He has taught an impressive list of more than sixty courses at noted centers of higher learning in the United States and overseas.
In addition to the volumes cited above, Prof. Heider co- authored Gardens of War. Life and Death in the New Guinea Stone Age with Robert Gardner, and wrote The Dani of West Irian: An Ethnographic Companion to the (Gardner’s) film Dead Birds. He also authored The Dugum Dani: A Papuan Culture of the Highlands of West New Guinea, the Grand Valley Dani, Landscapes of Emotion: Mapping Three Cultures of Emotion in Indonesia, and Indonesian Cinema as well as many other works.
The Society for Visual Anthropology is honored to give our award to a person of such accomplishments. He has served and will again serve as our president as well as a number of administrative and editorial positions within the American Anthropological Association as a whole, and who has been a constant source of support to workers in our field.
Mary Strong, SVA president